Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
— Jude 1:24-25 [NRSV]
When I was a teenager, I worked at the local A&W Root Beer Drive-In, yes, an actual drive-in. It was located 2-3 miles from our house and back then it was still safe for a teenager to walk home alone at night. Those summer night walks home were my favorite part of the job. I did not know it then but I would pray each night as I walked home. I would looked up and get lost in the sea of stars that screamed God’s glory. I listened to the hoots of an owl and smile at His creative style. I felt the wind as it rustled through the trees around me, much like God’s Spirit hovering over the waters of the earth. It got to the point where I could not spend even five minutes walking in the mist of His glory without giving Him praise. As I praised Him, I sensed His presence around me and I would tell Him about my day and the struggles I had, or the things that simply made me happy. I even remember more than one conversation about a girl, my first true crush, and my frustrations that she liked someone else—please help me God!
The strange thing was that love was also my biggest obstacle in accepting Jesus as my Savior. Here I was in love and talked with God almost every day. I confided in Him my problems and as well as my hopes. My love grew to where I attended church, not just at Christmas and Easter, but two or three times a month. I tithed, maybe not the ten percent everyone kept talking about, but I gave on a regular basis. In short, everything I was doing on the outside and inside seemed to line up with my view of the Christian life. Maybe I was not perfect, but then again, not being perfect was part of the Christian job description. Yet in this love fest, I could never understand why I had to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior in order to be what others called “saved”.
This struggle of mine included an on-going heated discussion between my wife and myself, well heated on my side at least. On her side of things, she tried to explain the reasons I needed to actually give my life to Jesus and often provided Bible verses, like Acts 4:12 or John 14:6, to support her case. She even had the courage to point them out in the Bible I was reading at the time—remember, I was a Christian and living the part, I even used it at church services. As for my side, it was simple and ironclad, at least in my own eyes, I had been a Christian all my life and did not need to accept Jesus just to prove it. I may also have had a few verses of my own but seem to have lost them over the years. I am sure they had mentioned God’s grace or something along those lines.
Bless her heart, she never gave up trying to help me understand.
It all came crashing down on me when I was fired from my job. Surprising the biggest blow was not the loss of the job or how were we going to make it in the weeks ahead, but why if I am a Christian and love God, how could He do this to me? After all, I was one of His chosen ones.
I cried that night in my bed and in my wife’s arms. I was broken, shattered, and no idea where to go next. So when my wife asked yet again if I wanted to turn it all over to Jesus. I said simply said yes and prayed with her to welcome Jesus into my heart. No, the world did not change when I accepted Jesus, it was still imperfect, and so was I. I was still out of work and afraid for the future, but while nothing in the world changed, I started to change. I quit struggling with my life and let Him who created life into my life. With God’s grace, He put Humpty Dumpty Rob back together again, the same body outwardly, but a whole new spirit on the inside. If you wonder what I prayed that night, skip over to the Connect with God page on this site.
Looking back at my struggles with accepting Jesus, I realize my struggle was not with the insurance policy, but rather with the clauses contained within the policy.
You’re familiar with insurance policies. We buy insurance policies for all sorts of things; insurance for our home, car insurance, health insurance, pet insurance, I even get mail every year telling me I need plumbing insurance in case my water line breaks outside of the home since my home insurance does not cover those claims. Stacks of insurance policies available, each one intended to keep us safe if we get so much as a pulled toe nail. And each policy comes with pages of clauses that explain when the policy will either pay or not pay in a given situation.
My problem was not the insurance policy coverage, but rather with the fine print. which unlike my other policies, I actually managed to read. It was the clause that states Jesus is our Savior and Lord [Luke 2:11]. I think we are all familiar with the term savior, in case you are not clear about lord, here is a definition: a person or deity who has authority, control, or power over others, acting as a master, chief, or ruler [Wikipedia].
I suspect many of us struggle with the fine print of this policy, even those who signed the policy agreement struggle with it. We want Jesus to save and take us into eternity but often are not willing to pay the daily premium—the cost being making Him Lord. We embrace the first clause, reject the second clause, and yet still expect the overall policy to be honored. My struggle was not knowing I needed to be saved, I knew it in every cell in my body, but was accepting that second clause. I loved the idea of a personal savior but was unwilling to sign if it required me to give up control. Period.
The difference that night from the other times my wife had asked for me to turn my life over was that I finally realized I could no longer trust myself to be in charge since the sum of thirty some years of being in charge had gotten me fired and without a future. That night I was more than willing to let Jesus take a stab at it.
While how my life changed after that night will come out in future posts, just know that I still have my daily struggles, and even some really bad days, but now Jesus is there to lead me through it and keep me safe along the way. I try to rest and begin each day knowing He is in control, not me.
What about you, how is your day going? Need to update your insurance policy?
Blessings in the name of Jesus Christ,